Yoshi’s New Island (3DS) Review:

Yoshi’s New Island is strangely familiar.

The series' main gameplay hook.
The series’ main gameplay hook.

Yoshi’s New Island is the third (kinda fourth) game in the Yoshi’s Island series, but it is also the least original. Yoshi’s Island games are known for their large stages, fun graphics and the ability to throw eggs at enemies or solve puzzles – Yoshi’s New Island contains all of these elements.

Yoshi’s New Island adds two new features to the series, massive eggs and gyroscope controlled sections in which Yoshi transforms into a helicopter for example. Neither of these additions, while being fun, really do much to advance the series in a particularly noteworthy way but this is not such a bad thing.

The main new feature.
The main new feature.

As I said above, what the series has become known for still holds true and plays just as well as the original game and its sequel. However, I don’t think level design is as good as it was in the original game. There is a good mixture of stages to play through, with the same amount of collectables but the difficulty does not really scale with your progress as much as it perhaps should – this is not a particularly difficult game.

However, Yoshi’s New Island should provide plenty of challenge for newcomers to the series – there were sections where I died a lot, but this was due to my own stubbornness to collect hard-to-reach flowers (one of the collectables, there are five to find in each stage). Indeed, the challenge comes from replaying the game in order to 100% it, but to be honest, you may not replay it as it never really gets interesting enough.

A dinosaur carrying a baby, throwing an egg at a cloud in a crystal cave filled with coins... seems legit.
A dinosaur carrying a baby, throwing an egg at a cloud in a crystal cave filled with coins… seems legit.

While the levels are fun, the game never really steps up; it remains in its own unwillingness to try anything truly “new”. Yoshi’s New Island is consistently good, but it never moves on from that, there is never one level or moment that “wows” – an issue I feel of the level design feeling too conventional for the series.

What is new is the game’s aesthetics and overall design; instead of what looked like hand-drawn sprites and crayon drawings of the original (and to a lesser extent its sequel) we have 3D character models and environments played on a 2D plane. While some may gawk at the change, I think the game looks very nice, especially while played in 3D – however, there is one thing that is a little weird. Yoshi’s feet are too big and Baby Mario looks a little off – what you spend most of your time looking at doesn’t look as good as the rest of the game and it is a tad distracting.

Looks good, no?
Looks good, no?

Despite this however, the game takes you to various different areas, each with own distinct visual style (as seen in any other platforming game) and everything has an effect that looks like it has been coloured in with crayons – a nice effect.

Music-wise, the game has been given a soundtrack that features a fair amount of kazoo and it is great fun, living up to the series’ music as a whole. As does the sound design, everything sounds great and it really adds to quite the detailed game.

To just complete the game should take anywhere from 5 to 8 hours, but getting 100% would probably take twice that amount, and there is a two-player mode that can be a bit of fun for a few minutes. But like all platformers, it is all over perhaps a little too quickly, one more world would have been good.

Summary:

Yoshi’s New Island doesn’t quite reach the heights you may want it to, but it is a fun game that offers plenty of replay-value if you want it with a neat (but slightly odd) soundtrack and visual design. However, it is a game that doesn’t try anything ground-breaking, meaning that ultimately, the original is still the best and the one that I’d recommend.

Yoshi’s New Island doesn’t feel particularly new.

76/100

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